Dunwoody’s Pete Rivard becomes AIGA MN Director of Education

Dunwoody Pre-Media Principal Instructor Pete Rivard has taken on a new leadership role as the Director of Education for the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) of Minnesota.

The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) was founded in New York in 1914 and has since spread across the nation, boasting 70 chapters and over 25,000 members. The organization is the oldest and largest professional membership association for graphic designers and professionals in related fields like printing, prepress, photography, illustration, paper manufacturing/distribution, and writing.

AIGA Minnesota with 1,300 members ranks as the fourth largest chapter in the nation. It’s also known for being among the most active chapters, holding monthly networking events, an annual Design Camp, and more.

“During this year’s Design Camp, I met people from Connecticut and Montana,” Pre-Media Principal Instructor Pete Rivard said. “They’re designers whose chapters apparently don’t feature that ambitious of an event, so they just jump on a plane and join in on what we’ve got going on here.”

Rivard accepts AIGA MN Board of Directors position

Pre-Media Technologies Principal Instructor Pete RivardAlong with this large and active membership body, there comes a need for a strong board of directors made up of members from across the Minnesota design profession. These board members each take charge of an area specifically suited to his or her talents and interests in order to benefit the full membership.

And there’s no question why Rivard was chosen to take over as Director of Education.

Along with his 13 years working in prepress technician and management roles and five years in technical support and training, Rivard has spent the last 17 years teaching at Dunwoody. And he’s made a big impact at the College in that time. He is constantly developing the Pre-Media Technologies program curriculum to meet industry needs, training future designers and packaging technicians, and helping students build their networks and find internships.

And now Rivard hopes to bring his experience to AIGA MN.

“I feel like there’s way more opportunity for collaboration among high school and college faculty regionally,” Rivard said. “And especially in terms of getting kids from middle school and upwards aware of the thousands of jobs in the graphics industry in this state, and how much need there is for fresh talent.”

In an effort to promote this collaboration, Rivard will be responsible for organizing educational events for all three of AIGA MN’s constituencies–students, faculty, and practicing professionals–throughout the year.

Rivard raises the profile

Rivard is also excited to have the chance to get Dunwoody’s name out there.

“We have a real opportunity to raise our profile in the design community through this,” Rivard said. “Some creative studios still don’t recognize the Associate of Applied Science degree as well-rounded preparation. They’d like to see a BFA. But at the same time, our students are just killing it in terms of technical chops and landing design jobs upon graduating.”

These students are doing things like earning first place in national design competitions and designing and producing POS displays for real-world clients.

Rivard is committed to the valuable, hands-on experience and education that Dunwoody provides. And he hopes he can continue to increase the Design & Graphics Technology program’s visibility throughout his two-year term as Director of Education at AIGA MN.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s design programs.

Radiologic Technology student wins Third Place in state-wide knowledge bowl

First-year Radiologic Technology student Julie VanderWal recently won Third Place at the Minnesota Society of Radiologic Technologists’ (MSRT) annual Knowledge Bowl.

Every year, the Minnesota Association of Radiologic Students (MARS)–a subcommittee of the Minnesota Society of Radiologic Technologists (MSRT) made up of twelve rad tech programs throughout the state of Minnesota–holds three events to encourage students to network with one another and stay up-to-date on the current issues facing the rad tech industry.

One of those meetings is the annual MARS Knowledge Bowl.

Dunwoody student wins Third Place at 2016 MARS Knowledge Bowl

First-year Radiologic Technology student Julie VanderWal with Dunwoody Radiologic Technology Program Manager David Blake

First-year Radiologic Technology student Julie VanderWal with Dunwoody Radiologic Technology Program Manager David Blake

The 2016 MARS Knowledge Bowl attracted 130 students from eight schools across Minnesota to compete on Thursday, Sept. 29, at Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Welch, MN.

Dunwoody student Julie VanderWal won third place in the overall competition—earning the title for highest-performing first-year student—bested only by students from Lake Superior College and the Mayo Clinic Rad Tech program.

In addition to a cash prize, VanderWal will receive free MSRT membership after graduation.

Radiologic Technology at Dunwoody
Dunwoody’s Rad Tech program offers small class sizes and robust clinical rotation experiences. The College maintains partnerships with 10-15 different hospitals and clinics in the Twin Cities area, including North Memorial Hospital.

The variety of clinical sites allows students to work with real patients in every healthcare setting and situation—from level-one trauma centers to geriatric hospitals—before they graduate.

During the clinical rotations, students scrub in and work with real patients alongside Radiologic Technologists and Medical Doctors for an eight-hour shift. Graduates leave Dunwoody well-prepared, knowing exactly what to expect in their field.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s Radiologic Technology program.

Dunwoody College of Technology launches Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering


OCTOBER 5, MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Dunwoody College of Technology is now accepting applications for its new Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering, which will begin classes August 2017. The degree will prepare students to enter the field of engineering as software engineers. Software engineers design, develop, test and improve software applications for a variety of fields, including medical, financial, manufacturing, consumer, military, enterprise and other uses.

The degree will incorporate the College’s life-long values of hands-on learning, problem-solving, teamwork and professionalism. Prospective students and others interested in learning about Software Engineering or Mechanical Engineering or both are invited to RSVP for an Oct. 25 School of Engineering Information Session to be held on the Dunwoody campus.

Other Points of Note: 

  • Software Engineering students will benefit from the lab spaces and equipment already present on campus, including networking and web development deployment environments used by Computer Technology students and automated systems and electronic controls labs used by Robotics & Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering students.
  • The decision to launch a bachelor’s degree in software engineering was made in consultation with numerous industry leaders and professionals who highlighted a need for software engineers who combine both theoretical and practical skill sets and experience.
  • Software Engineering is the second degree offering the College’s School of Engineering, which launched with its first class of Mechanical Engineering students in August 2016.
  • Dunwoody is exploring which other engineering disciplines will join software and mechanical as the core majors for the School of Engineering. Currently electrical and civil engineering are at the top of the list.
  • Dunwoody has been approved to offer the degree by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education as well as the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The commission’s web address and phone number are: www.ncahigherlearningcommission.org and 312-263-0456.


“As we explored the various options, Software Engineering made the most sense as the second major to add to our School of Engineering,” President Rich Wagner said. “The industry partners we spoke with saw a need for professionals who can design and lead complex software projects. We already supply many of the web developers and computer networking professionals hired by local industry. By adding software engineering we build on those current strengths to help address the need for IT professionals who can bring engineering thinking and skills to the field.”

More Information:

For more on Software Engineering and the School of Engineering: http://www.dunwoody.edu/engineering/

Media Contact:

William Morris, Director of Marketing & College Relations
wmorris@dunwoody.edu; 612-381-3367

For Admissions information:

dunwoody.edu/admissionsinfo@dunwoody.edu; 612-374-5800

Founded in 1914, Dunwoody College of Technology is the only private, not-for-profit technical college in the Upper Midwest. It has provided a hands-on, applied education to more than 200,000 men and women, who in turn have gone on to meaningful and rewarding careers and become outstanding technicians, successful entrepreneurs and industry leaders. Located on the western edge of downtown Minneapolis, Dunwoody offers more than 30 certificate, associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree programs in the areas of Applied Management, Automotive, Computer Technology, Construction Sciences & Building Technology, Design & Graphics Technology, Engineering, Radiologic Technology, Robotics & Manufacturing, and Workforce Training & Continuing Education.

Architecture students to design dining hall for Steger Wilderness Center

Renowned adventurer Will Steger to play key role in the design process.
Photo of Steger Wilderness Center

The Steger Wilderness Center, located in Ely, MN.

Architecture Instructor Molly Reichert had quite a surprise for third year Architecture students this fall semester: a chance to work with prominent wilderness adventurer and conservationist Will Steger.

Students were asked to help design and build a brand new dining hall for the Steger Wilderness Center, an earth-friendly building devoted to sustainability education and climate change solution. The dining hall, the latest step in the completion of the Center, will serve as a gathering place where center guests can eat, read, study, socialize, and meet. The dining space will be solar-powered and feature a full kitchen and rotating chefs.

Week-long studio prepares students for project

Students began the semester-long project earlier this year by spending a week up in Ely, MN, home of the Center. Completely “off the grid”, students spent their time touring the space, meeting with Will and Center staff, and fleshing out design ideas for the project.

Photo of Dunwoody students camping at the Steger Wilderness Center

Dunwoody students camping on the site of the proposed dining hall

The Dunwoody group even camped out on the site where the dining hall will be built to gain a better understanding of how the land worked in relation to the rest of the Center.

At the end of the studio, Reichert said it became very clear to her that the students were not only impressed with the space, but also with their client.

“It was very interesting and eye-opening for students to see the capacity that Will—just one person—has,” Reichert said. “From going on arctic expeditions, to designing buildings, building buildings, working on policy work and educating—I think they were all very inspired by him.”

“Many of the students described the experience as broadening, which I think is such a beautiful way to think about something.”

Final building designs to be presented in December
Photo of where the dining hall will be built in relation to the rest of the Center

Proposed dining hall program diagram

Since the studio, students have primarily been working on documentation, including gathering information on Will’s vision, zoning constraints, building codes for the area, kitchen requirements, etc. But now, Reichert said, they are ready enter the schematic design portion of the project.

“It was quite funny because everyone was so inspired and interested in Will and this project that it was hard keeping everyone at bay and to not get into design and to just focus on research and documentation. So, I think everyone is really chomping at the bit to just dig in. They can’t wait to get started.”

Reichert explained that students will have to learn how to design to the constraints and mission of the Center. This means taking into account the harsh winters and freezing temperatures of northern MN. The design of the building must also reflect the local ecosystem and speak to the other structures that are part of the Steger Wilderness Center. The entire design process is expected to take several weeks.

Photo of Will Steger at Dunwoody College working with students on design possibilities for the dining hall

Will Steger at Dunwoody College working with students on design possibilities for the dining hall

At the end of the semester, students will present their final designs to Will, who will then choose several designs, or portions of those designs, to move forward with. The final building design will be dependent on funding and community support.

The hope is to break ground as early as 2018.

Learn more  

This is the first design studio in the 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree at Dunwoody. The course aims to introduce students to the importance of site and precedent in relationship to architecture.

Learn more about Dunwoody Architecture.

Monitor the project’s progress.


Dunwoody joins the Shell Eco-Marathon Challenge

First-year student Donald Posterick was part of the highest-ranking high school team in the national Shell Eco-Marathon Challenge last year. And now he’s bringing his skills to Dunwoody.

Donald Posterick with his Eco-Marathon car designsDonald Posterick joined Grand Rapids Senior High School’s Shell Eco-Marathon team–The Thunder Hawks–his senior year after being laid off from his job wiring electric harnesses. Instead of finding a new gig, Posterick decided to teach himself electronics.

“I started out with robotics and programming stuff, and then I got more into the components,” Posterick said. “I designed little circuit boards- etching them myself, doing toner transfers, all that.”

Posterick picked it up quickly and soon became in charge of the electronic components for The Thunder Hawks’ Eco-Marathon car, building the speed controller and the electrical system of the vehicle by himself.

The Thunder Hawks placed fourth in the 2016 National Shell Eco-Marathon Challenge in Michigan–the highest-ranking high school team in the competition.

Posterick brings Shell Eco-Marathon Club to Dunwoody

Donald PosterickPosterick came to Dunwoody in June through the Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) summer camp. After completing the six-week camp, he decided to enroll in the College’s Electronics Engineering Technology program where he could pursue his passions for alternative energy in the automotive industry.

In his short time at the College, he has already organized Dunwoody’s first Shell Eco-Marathon Challenge Club with a goal to design and build a battery-electric eco car during the 2017 season and enter the 2018 competition.

“I think this is something we really have the potential to do good with,” Posterick said. “Heck, the speed controller we competed with last year, I stripped the components off of a wheelchair speed controller to design and build mine. We were scrimping and we took fourth. I think with the right support and the time to do it we can do so much better and put Dunwoody’s name out there.”

Eco-marathon sketchesMembers from the Dunwoody team, including Posterick, will travel to Michigan later this year to watch the Eco-Marathon Challenge and get a better idea of the project that lies ahead of them.

The Shell Eco-Marathon Challenge

The Shell Eco-Marathon is a unique competition that challenges students to design, build, and drive the most energy-efficient car. During the event, student teams take to the track to see who can drive the furthest distance using the least amount of fuel.

The competition is split into two classes: Prototype and UrbanConcept. Prototype simply focuses on energy efficiency without taking passenger comfort into account while UrbanConcept encourages more practical designs.

Each class is divided and judged based on energy types:

  • Internal combustion engine: vehicles using fuels like petrol, diesel, liquid fuel made from natural gas and ethanol.
  • Electric mobility: vehicles using hydrogen fuel cells or lithium-based batteries.

Posterick is planning on entering the Prototype class under the electric mobility category.

A college-wide effort

Donald Posterick at the Student club and organization fairCurrently, Posterick is working on recruiting students to help with the initial planning and prototyping. He’s looking for students from across all disciplines to help bring this prototype to life.

“I’m looking for welders, robotics, manufacturing, and electronics folks,” said Posterick. “Even the graphic design students could help us with our car graphics”

Posterick has a few sketches and a small 3D prototype of an eco car he’s got in mind, but he’s interested in hearing ideas from other students. He wants the car to come to life through a college-wide collaboration.

For more information about the club or to find out how to get involved, email Donald Posterick at posdon@dunwoody.edu.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s student clubs and organizations.

Dunwoody kicks off annual Diversity Forum series with Festival of Cultures

Festival of Cultures, 2016Last week, the College kicked off its annual Diversity Forum series with a Festival of Cultures featuring musical performances from La Familia Music group and FireFlyForest.

The Festival of Cultures is an annual event that celebrates the cultures and traditions of students and staff. Students can represent their culture at a table in the College’s McNamara Center by showcasing traditional foods, art, clothing, traditions, etc.

Diversity at Dunwoody

La Familia Music Group plays a set during the 2016 Festival of Cultures.

The Festival is the first event in this year’s Diversity Forum series. Each month, Dunwoody holds a Diversity Forum centered on a new cultural topic. All Forums are free and open to students, staff, and community members.

Don’t miss upcoming events in this series! Check out the Forum calendar below:

  • October 20: Diversity Awareness Month & LGBT Forum, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • November 14: Native American Heritage Month, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • December 15: Racial Justice & Human Rights, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • January 12: King’s Birthday Celebration, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • February 14: Black History Month Celebration, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • March 23: Women’s History Month, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • April 20: Holocaust Commemoration, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • May 4: Asian American Heritage Month, 12:30 p.m., McNamara Center

Interested in one of these topics? RSVP to Dr. Leo Parvis at lparvis@dunwoody.edu. Dr. Parvis is a Principal Instructor and Diversity Programs & Education Coordinator at Dunwoody College of Technology.

Construction Management student McBonn B Njankenji shares personal story on what led him to Dunwoody

McBonn Njaneknji McBonn B. Njankenji, a sophomore in Dunwoody’s Construction Management program, wasn’t always planning on going to college for construction—let alone college in the United States.

Born in Bamenda, Cameroon, growing up Njankenji and his family did not have much in terms of money; his mother never finished high school and his father didn’t attend college.

Things changed, however, when Njankenji turned 10, and he and his family decided to move to the United States in search of a better life and a better future. But, because of their history of financial difficulties, Njankenji said he felt pressure to pursue ambitious, high-paying careers.

“I was trapped in a world where my mother wanted me to be a doctor and my father wanting me to be an engineer,” he said.

Njankenji explained he tried pursuing both careers, but quickly found he didn’t enjoy or excel at either one. What he did find enjoyment in, however, was construction—a career path his father had also followed.

Finding his passion

“I fell in love with it,” Njankenji recalled. “I would ride with my father to job sites, and I loved seeing the smiles on the owners’ faces after a job was completed.”

Njankenji knew he wanted to be a project manager, but when it came time to finding the right college, he said he was surprised by how few schools offered a comprehensive Construction Management program.

“There weren’t a lot of schools that focused on Construction Management like Dunwoody,” he said. “I remember going online [to the Dunwoody website] with my father and seeing classes like estimating, drafting, and all sorts of courses that broadly exposed anyone new to the construction field.”

It was Dunwoody’s in-depth, hands-on approach to education that sealed the deal for Njankenji and his family. So, despite living in Maryland at the time, Njankenji chose to move to Minnesota and enroll at Dunwoody College of Technology.

Hard work pays off

Njankenji has since found much success at the College. He worked as a Field Engineer Intern for PCL Construction last summer and has received several scholarships along the way.

Most recently, he received the 2016 Foundation Scholarship, an award given annually by the Builders Association of the Twin Cities, which helps students pursuing a Residential Construction education in the Twin Cities with their tuition costs.

Njankenji said it’s scholarships like these that help make his dream of attending college a reality.

“I don’t regret this move,” he said. “I moved all the way from Maryland to get the most out of my education, and Dunwoody has helped with that. I am honored to be granted this scholarship and am glad I have organizations like BATC to support me every step of the way.

“Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to let me shine.”

Learn more

Learn more about Construction Management.

For more information on scholarships available to Dunwoody students, contact financialaid@dunwoody.edu.

Graphic Design student designs store displays for local baby clothing brand

Student Ashley LeMay designed and produced 25 point-of-sale (POS) displays for Tumblewalla–a local baby clothing brand–that can be found in retailers around the Twin Cities.
Graphic Design student Ashley LeMay

Graphic Design student Ashley LeMay

Ashley LeMay came to Dunwoody after working for 10 years as a teaching assistant for special education in the St. Paul Public School system when Dunwoody Pre-Media Principal Instructor Pete Rivard came to teach a Photoshop lesson during her students’ digital photography class. Afterwards, Rivard talked to the class about what a graphic designer does.

“I just knew immediately that that was my calling–it was where I needed to be” LeMay said. “All the stuff he was talking about was stuff I can’t stop myself from doing like analyzing color and typesetting.”

She immediately applied and was accepted into Dunwoody’s Design & Graphics Technology program. When she felt she was ready to make the change, she enrolled in classes.

LeMay’s decision to change her career path proved to be a good choice. She recently took on her first real-world project designing and producing point-of-sale (POS) displays for Tumblewalla – a local baby-clothing brand. Her work can be found in Pacifier stores, Kiddywampus, and other retailers throughout the Twin Cities.

Tumblewalla fills need for more playful baby, toddler clothing

Tumblewalla POS display, side viewWhen Sonal Gerten, Founder of Tumblewalla, started the baby clothing company, she saw a need in the market for more spirited, pure, and comfortable fabrics for babies and toddlers that represented the vibrancy and yoga traditions of her Indian heritage. With that, she brought Tumblewalla – loosely translated as “one who tumbles,” – to life.

When it came time to bring her products to retailers, Gerten wanted to highlight the playfulness her brand represented. She was looking for someone with “the expertise and passion to make this happen” so she reached out to Dunwoody’s Design & Graphics Technology department.

Graphic Design Principal Instructor Tom Herold then invited interested students to learn about the job opportunity from Gerten after class.

“This project was Ashley’s from the beginning. She had the time, she had the energy, and she had the ability,” Herold said. “Frankly I don’t think Sonal could have had a better designer working with her. This was about as complete a job that she could have gotten anywhere else.”

LeMay overcomes design challenges to create the perfect POS display

Tumblewalla POS display, front view“The first display was designed to look like a letter block.” LeMay said. “[Gerten] liked this but her concern was that she needed a place to hang a onesie up because her sales do better when there’s one out on display.”

When parents shop for baby and toddler products, they love to touch and feel pieces before buying them. However, retail space is often limited–making it difficult to showcase a product in the shelf-space allotted for it.

LeMay needed to adjust her first POS display so it could both hold the packaged product and display a single onesie for parents to touch and feel–all without increasing production time and material cost.

So with that, she designed and built a display with a high back made to look like a clothesline. The onesie could be hung up on the display using wooden clothespins. The display needed to be technically executed so that the cardboard would not fold under the weight of the product.

LeMay delivered on all fronts.

In addition to being functionally sound, Gerten wanted the display to communicate the playfulness yet sophistication of the Tumblewalla brand. For this, LeMay suggested using cutouts of Tumblewalla’s lotus motif along with a deep contemporary blue paint.

LeMay working on a Tumblewalla POS display

LeMay working on a Tumblewalla POS display

The deep blue “aesthetically pops on the shelf and conveys who we are in a simple yet fun way that’s very aligned with our brand positioning,” Gerten said.

LeMay built and hand-painted all 25 POS displays seen in stores around the Twin Cities. The project–from start to finish–took 30-35 hours.

“Ashley is a problem-solver–no challenge is too difficult for her.” Gerten said. “She also quickly understood the Tumblewalla design aesthetic and surpassed my expectations in terms of design options. She is a joy to work with and extremely talented!”

The Dunwoody Difference

Dunwoody’s Design & Graphics Technology instructors are constantly looking for ways to connect students to industry throughout their education. From the annual Internship Expo, to participation in national student competitions, students are given every opportunity to gain industry-standard experience and skills before graduation.

Find more information about the Design & Graphics Technology department.